The government must do more to prevent peatlands from releasing thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions, says countryside charity CPRE.
Peatlands can store vast amounts of carbon in a stable form, acting as some of the largest carbon sinks on the planet.
However, due to, burning, draining and degradation, peatlands are now estimated to be responsible for 55% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.
CPRE has criticised the government’s current commitment to restore 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025 as not going far enough.
CPRE is calling on the government to do more to protect these environments in the forthcoming England Peat Strategy by:
Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at CPRE, said: ‘It’s no wonder peatlands are often referred to as the UK’s rainforests.
‘Properly managed peatland stores huge amounts of carbon and water and provides a haven for plant and wildlife. But continuing to neglect these natural carbon stores could backfire.
‘The government has paid too little attention to emissions from peatland – as things stand, they aren’t even properly included in current emissions monitoring.
‘This seriously threatens the effectiveness of other nature-based solutions, like tree planting, in tackling the climate emergency.
‘We need to harness the power of all of our natural allies in the fight against runaway climate change. With the right investment, peat could play a pivotal role in tackling the climate and nature emergencies.
‘For this, we not only need much greater levels of investment from government in restoring or rewetting peatlands, but we also need a strategy for a fair and managed transition to move businesses away from dependency on destructive use of peatlands’
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